As expected, the season premiere of “Hard Knocks” featuring the Detroit Lions was chock-full of Dan Campbellisms, hilarious moments, and true heart-pulling emotions. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from the fabulous NFL Films crew, and it displayed everything we already know about this young Lions franchise. They’re fun. They’re hilarious. They’re authentic.
They’re also extremely quotable, as we learned from the very first moments coach Dan Campbell took the podium last year, and it did not cease after that.
So here are the 10 best quotes from the first episode of Hard Knocks, which premiered on Tuesday night.
1. “It doesn’t matter if you have one ass-cheek and three toes, I will beat your ass.” — Dan Campbell
Dan Campbell’s “deep dark abyss” speech at the top occasionally bordered on confusing, but his delivery is so strong that it all felt like it made sense. No moment was better, though, when Campbell pulled out this hilarious line that is both great in context and completely out of context.
2. “There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no light. There’s a song Metallica has, ‘No Leaf Clover,’ and it says, ‘Man, when it comes to the soothing light at the end of your tunnel, it’s just a freight train coming your way.’” — Dan Campbell
These song lyrics bookend the episode in masterful way from NFL Films, and Campbell conveys the message clearly: Don’t get distracted by the light. Put your head down and work. And as Metallica plays over the Ford Field Family Fest highlights, we see the players do exactly that.
3. “Training camp is awesome, because you get to hit people.” — Malcolm Rodriguez
One part naive, one part fantastic. Rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez is one of the most hyped players this offseason, and he’s lived up to the billing because of attitudes like this. We’ll see if he still feels this way three weeks from now, but you love to see this.
4. “I thought about cutting my hair, I”m going to be honest with you. Dan was one of the first people to say, ‘Absolutely not. You’re Kelvin Sheppard. I’m hiring Kelvin Sheppard. I’m hiring Shep. I’m not hiring the guy you think is supposed to fill that position.’” — Kelvin Sheppard
A fantastic story from linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard once again preaching one of the fundamental cores of this franchise under Dan Campbell: authenticity.
5. “You look like a big-ass mushroom.” — Todd Wash to Michael Brockers
Those guardian caps definitely take some time to get used to.
6. “We’re running through your body like diarrhea. Drip, drip, A.G.” — Jamaal Williams
There was a lot of poop, fart and nuts talk in episode one, but no one nailed the playground humor like Jamaal Williams, and that should surprise nobody.
7. “I swear to god, I’m not a lunatic.” — Dan Campbell
Okay, maybe it’s not fair to take this one out of context. This was actually at the beginning of a very heartfelt speech from Campbell pleading to his team to turn up the intensity because going hard and live with tackling is the only way—according to his statistics—to acclimate the body for the regular season and prevent further injury.
8. “I get emotional about this. I’m about to cry because I care about y’all.” — Jamaal Williams
Just go back and watch the entire speech again:
9. “A.G., I love you, man. I want to fuck you up between the lines, but I love you.” — Duce Staley
The Staley-Aaron Glenn montage was as amazing as advertised, with fantastic quips like, ‘Now you a ref?” and “you ain’t writing shit down” But no line better encapsulates these two relationships than the one Staley shared with the entire team.
10. “I’ve got these certain articles of clothing that I really like, but they just don’t fit good, and I’m saving them until I can fit in them. I can’t wait for that.” — Taylor Decker
Decker has never been more relatable than in this post-credits scene. I, too, have that piece of clothing and it’s been sitting in my closet for at least three years. It’s even more hilarious that it’s delivered to an absolutely silent offensive line room that has no reaction to what he’s saying except for an emotionless “that’s cool” from Frank Ragnow.